From Pine View Farm

March, 2009 archive


This is really neat. It’s a map of the locations of TLLTS listeners who choose to sign up are located.

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The Rich Are Different from You and Me 0

Richard Blair at ASZ helps me count the ways.

There’s really nothing to add to what he said.

Via Skippy.


On Remembering One’s Lines 0


pointing out that obama’s public pronouncements are better when he uses a teleprompter is like noting that a professional runner does better when he wears running shoes. it’s such an unremarkable observation it borders on ridiculous.

but what really seems to be going on here is that the right is trying to spread the idea that obama isn’t such a great communicator when he isn’t reading off a script. except that to most people that’s simply not true. . . .


‘t get me wrong, i’m not saying that rightwingers are lying when they keep returning to this bad speaker idea. i just think that they can’t distinguish their own bullshit from other people’s reality anymore. no matter what obama actually does, they will see what they want to see. if you hate obama and keep telling yourself he’s a bad speaker without a teleprompter, every time you see him without one you will be able to convince yourself that he’s speaking terribly. but the real problem (for them) is not just that they have convinced themselves of their own reality, but also that they can’t seem to conceive that others see things completely differently.

Mad Kane has more.


Not To Be Trusted 0

You can bank on it.


Return of Beyond the Palin 1

Andrew Sullivan, here.


Never Saw One When I Was Growing Up 0

We had a hawks and owls and ospreys, but no eagles. There’s a nice picture at the link:

The third and final egg in the bald eagle’s nest at Norfolk Botanical Garden hatched about 7:12 a.m. Wednesday.

The first two eggs hatched Saturday and Sunday.


Fleeing 0

Some Republican is yammering away on Marconi’s Magic Box. It sent me fleeing to the porch to escape the lies and hypocrisy.


Redefinition 1

Bringing new meaning to the term, “the old ball and chain”:

An American woman handcuffed herself to her sleeping husband in an apparent attempt to resolve an argument, but police ended up breaking into their home and charging her with assault and other crimes, authorities said on Tuesday.


They Got Nothin’ 0

No ideas, no solutions, not even dead air.

Just charades and good haircuts.

CC comments.

Via D-Day.


Twits on Twitter 1

Twitter decides to try to make some money.


Nothing To Do, Nowhere To Go 0

More Bushboroughs:

Showing the labor market’s considerable strain, the number of people collecting state unemployment benefits reached yet another new record, jumping 122,000 to a seasonally adjusted 5.56 million, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The four-week average of these claims rose 123,750 to stand at 5.33 million — in itself a record high since the U.S. began compiling these statistics — also as of the week ended March 14.

In other news.


The Long View 0

Among the things that have driven me away from television news, in addition to the inherent inanity of selecting “reporters” because they have good “anchor hair,” is the relentless emphasis on now, with no thought of yesterday (how we got here) or tomorrow (where we are headed). This perspective has also seeped into political coverage and political partisanship, which cares more for today’s poll results than for tomorrow’s solutions.

One can see it in the daily agonizing over a stuff that makes a Trivial Pursuit question seem like the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

Ian Leslie in the Guardian.

If we tear ourselves away from the talkshows and the RSS feeds and look at what the administration has actually been doing in response to the economic crisis, we discover a series of initiatives that are designed to work together and push in one direction. Alongside the banking rescue plan, there’s the stimulus package, a housing plan, credit relief for small businesses and a budget proposal that addresses long-term problems for which solutions are vital to the nation’s future prosperity.

Obama seems to have retained at least some of his ability to keep his eye on the ball even when everyone in the crowd is screaming their lungs out. Not all of his plans will work, and the whole thing may yet end in disaster. It’s impossible to say. We can’t predict the future with any confidence at the moment. But we can – if we try – see beyond the present.


The Voting Fraud Fraud 0

It doesn’t happen from voters at the ballot box.

It happens before or after, with the ballot box:

In a presentation that could provide disturbing lessons for the United States, where electronic voting is becoming universal, (CIA cybersecurity expert–ed.) Steve Stigall summarized what he described as attempts to use computers to undermine democratic elections in developing nations. His remarks have received no news media attention until now.

Stigall told the Election Assistance Commission, a tiny agency that Congress created in 2002 to modernize U.S. voting, that computerized electoral systems can be manipulated at five stages, from altering voter registration lists to posting results.


Pay for Performance: Stand and Deliver Dept. 0

I don’t care who it is, no one provides $1,000,000,000 worth of performance in a year.

Espcially not for playing monopoly with other people’s money.

Top hedge fund managers earned 48% less on average last year, but industry chiefs James Simons, John Paulson, John Arnold and George Soros still took home more than $1 billion each, Alpha Magazine said Tuesday.


Top 25 top-performing managers made $464 million each on average last year. That’s down from a record $892 million apiece in 2007, before the credit crisis triggered big losses and redemptions across the $1.5 trillion industry. Alpha Magazine cut its list of top earners to 25 from 50 last year.


Pay for Performance 0

In the Guardian, Devendra Kodwan explores the failure of the bankrupt busines bonus culture. The article sort of sputters to an unsatisfactory end, but it is still worth the two minutes it takes to read, for there is no question that bonus “pay for performance” schemes produce pay, but not performance.

Just look around.

A nugget:

First, the idea of using performance-based incentives that included bonuses, in particular share options, has clearly backfired. Recent research from US academics suggests that the link between executive incentives and firm performance is tenuous in a best-case scenario, and indeed negative in some cases. There is also disturbing evidence that when firms pay a very high level (90%) of CEO compensation in stock options, it increases the chances of questionable financial reporting in the following years.


Black Holes 0

No, not out there in Andromeda.

Right there in Potomac River City. Read the whole thing:

The story behind why the DEA sought out the (three new surveillance planes–ed.) planes, only to become the second federal agency to give them up, illustrates the pitfalls of “black,” or classified, budgeting in which Congress approves tens of billions of dollars for intelligence agencies outside the public’s view.


Black earmarks, however, receive almost no scrutiny. Even worse, there’s little accountability when the technology doesn’t work.

The lack of transparency has led to some staggering boondoggles. In 1991, then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney canceled the troubled A-12 Avenger II after the secret aircraft program consumed nearly $3 billion of taxpayers’ money.


How about “Bushboroughs”? 0

After all, “Hooverville” is already taken.

Like a dozen or so other cities across the nation, Fresno is dealing with an unhappy déjà vu: the arrival of modern-day Hoovervilles, illegal encampments of homeless people that are reminiscent, on a far smaller scale, of Depression-era shantytowns. At his news conference on Tuesday night, President Obama was asked directly about the tent cities and responded by saying that it was “not acceptable for children and families to be without a roof over their heads in a country as wealthy as ours.”

Republicanism continues to increase our vocabulary.


Shakespeare Would Roll over in His Grave 1

Unusal British names on the decline.


Atrocity, Reprise 3

I have discussed mountaintop removal before. Mountaintop removal kills. It kils streams, towns, forests, and lives.

So this is good news.

The EPA announced on Tuesday that they were putting a hold on dozens of mountantop mining projects until the “projects’ impacts on streams and wetlands can be reviewed.”


Bring Vinegar 0

These could be your salad days:

A northbound tractor-trailer truck hit the back of an 18-wheel Perdue Farms Inc. tank truck at an intersection here early Monday afternoon, closing northbound U.S. Route 13 and spilling the truck’s liquid contents.

The tank’s signs indicate that the substance is vegetable oil, but crews at the scene did not immediately identify it.